Tourists travelling to Northland are being advised by locals not to drink the water in the small town of Kaeo.
Helen Owens, from Kaeo Farm and Fuel, said the water - supplied by a private company - was brown and had an odd smell.
Most locals were on roof-tank water, and would not dream of drinking from the public taps, she said.
Ms Owens and her husband were going to install a public drinking fountain at their service station when they bought it but decided not to when they saw what was coming out of the taps.
She said they were advising cyclists and tourists to go to the next point on their destination and use tank water to re-fill their bottles.